A few years ago I attended an auction for a charity event and I was fascinated with the auctioneer. Although his words per minute were off the chart, I was able to follow just about everything he was saying. He had me and the entire audience captivated. However, despite him being entertaining there was no question that he was a salesman trying to get people to spend money on the items that were up for auction. Earlier this year I knocked doors with three auctioneers…errr, three of my sales reps who very well could have been mistaken for auctioneers. Although what they were saying was spot-on, how they were saying it was extremely salesy.
Unlike auctioneers, most people speak quickly because they are either nervous or so accustomed to saying something that they mindlessly rattle it off without much thought. The sales reps in question were certainly not nervous…they had all sold door to door before, so I concluded they were in such a hurry to relay their information that they were failing to personalize the message and make the potential customer think what they were saying was specifically catered to them and/or their situation (house location, age of home, pets, kids, etc.).
As sales reps, we have to pay close attention to the speed at which we are delivering our message. Notable is the fact that speed can vary depending on the person we are trying to sell. A potential customer backing out of their driveway may need to be spoken to more quickly than a potential customer sitting on their front porch in a rocking chair. Consider mirroring the speed of the person you are talking to. Most people will speak at an average speed, thus your speed should be average or conversational.
In general, speaking at a comfortable pace will allow you to cater the message and be perceived as less of a salesperson and more as somebody who is sharing information. Don’t be in a rush to get through your pitch, instead find ways to make each approach different. Talk at a comfortable speed and leave the speed-talking to the auctioneers.